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20 Surprisingly Affordable Vacations To Take In 2018

Many of us spend a great amount of time, saving up our hard earned dollars to budget for a vacation. Sometimes it can be a very frustrating process to try and find the best travel deals possible because it can take many hours of research. There are so many variables involved and they all have to be taken into account or you will quickly bust your vacation budget. One such variable is, of course, the airline ticket prices itself, which vary greatly due to your proximity to the destination. Then there many other factors to consider, for example, what time of year you travel and how many people you will be traveling with which change the dynamics of pricing greatly. Looking for things like midweek stays, low season pricing and double occupancy can keep those pennies in your pocket a bit longer.

Usually, travel destinations to Canada, US and Europe are generally the more expensive places to visit. Asia, however, dominates for some of the cheapest places to go for vacation. Now, remember, prices are extremely relative. For example, if you live in Florida, Boca Raton would be a cheap place to travel for fellow Floridians, but how many people actually visit Boca each year? So for this list, we used the world’s 100 most popular travel destinations of 2017 determined by Euromonitor International.

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20 Siem Reap, Cambodia

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Siem Reap is by far one of the most ridiculously affordable places to visit in the world. Located in the northwestern part of Cambodia, Siem Reap is known for being a resort town with an extremely budget friendly itinerary. The most famous places to visit there are the Bayon Temple and Angkor Wat Temple, but the ruins of ancient Preah Khan are a must-see as well. After touring the temples all day, you can treat yourself to a 30-minute foot massage for only $3 USD. A sandwich made fresh to order off the pull-cart will cost you a buck. I’ll take two, please!

19 Phuket, Thailand

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Located in the southernmost province of Thailand off the west coast is an island called Phuket. With pristine white beaches, gorgeous mountains and lush rainforests, Phuket is an exciting place to visit. Thailand’s largest island offers a variety of things to do like, diving, culture, holistic pleasures and fabulous food. There are also national parks and wildlife sanctuaries for those who like to explore. Phuket is also is home to some of Thailand’s finest 3 and 4-star hotels and spas. Hotel rooms with 3-star ratings start as low as $22. a night and two kids under five-years-old can even stay for free.

18 Cairo, Egypt

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When we think of Egypt’s capital, Cairo, It’s hard not to picture the Great Sphinx and the Giza Pyramids. What you probably don’t know about Cairo is that it’s one of the cheapest places in the world visit. Cairo’s metropolitan area is the 15th largest in the world and is the largest in the Arab world and the Middle East. You can stay at a four-star hotel for a two-star price at around $20. a night. The museums and mosques are just some of the places you would visit, but ladies should not go unescorted, as this megacity was voted most dangerous for harassment of women in 2017.

17 Mexico City, Mexico

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One of the cheapest travel destinations in North America is also one of the largest cities in the world and that’s Mexico City, in Mexico. It’s advised that you refrain from drinking the tap water in the city, but a 1.5-liter bottle of water will only cost you about sixty cents. Street food in Mexico City is even cheaper than it is Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. You can get a plate full of meat filled flautas, topped with cheese, lettuce and salsa for about a buck. Don’t forget to visit the Aztec temple Teotihuacan while you are there, and make sure to bring your bottled water for the hike.

16 Bangkok, Thailand

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Even though it is the second most popular place in the world for tourists, the first thing that comes to mind when I hear someone say the word Bangkok is the 1984 song by Murray Head, “One Night In Bangkok". Known for its extremely exciting nightlife and entertainment, Bangkok has much more to offer than just being a party place. It has amazing religious sites like the sacred Buddhist Temple, Wat Phra Kaew. With 3-star rooms as low as $11. a night you can stay there long enough to get over the jet-lag. And meals for two, at a ‘nicer restaurant’ run from $15-$35 and that includes an appetizer, main course, dessert, and a non-alcoholic drink.

15 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Not only is Kuala Lumpur the largest city in Malaysia, it's also the capital. It is ranked as the sixth most visited city in the world and there is a good reason for that. It is home to the tallest twin skyscrapers in the world - the instantly recognizable Petronas Towers. With shopping, entertainment, cultural festivals, museums and national monuments the activities are endless. With four-star rooms for as low as $9. a night and inexpensive food, Kuala Lumpur is a better deal than its nearby neighbour, Singapore. It is clean, modern city with Asian culture and you get some great bang for the buck.

14 Antalya, Turkey

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This yacht-filled Turkish resort city is home to some of the most beautiful beaches flanked by huge hotels. With its stunning blue waters, it’s known as the Turquoise Coast and is the gateway to the southern Mediterranean region in Turkey. At one time Antalya was a major Roman port and remnants from this time remain and attract tourists. Besides the ancient Roman ruins, there are museums and waterfalls that make Antalya a great and inexpensive vacation destination. A nights stay in a three-star hotel with a sea view, a pool and a free breakfast will only set you back a mere $40 bucks.

13 St. Petersburg, Russia

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For more than 200 years, St. Petersburg served as the Imperial capital for Russia. Filled with dozens of historic sites, churches and museums, it offers more than just its lavish architecture. The Hermitage, one of the world’s most famous museums, is a must-see for your itinerary as well as the Winter Palace and all of its ornate staterooms. Another unmissable attraction is the eternal twilight of the White Nights during the summer evenings. It’s commonplace to see the city’s people stroll the streets all night admiring the sky and celebrating the joy of life. You can save yourself the $10 dollar hotel room if you join them!

12 Lima, Peru

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If Asia is not for you, then perhaps South America just might be. One of the cheapest places to travel in South America is to the largest city in Peru and that’s Lima. Lima is also its capital and boasts bargain deals for hotels, food and beverages. Tourists flock to awe-inspiring Machu Picchu for some enjoyable sights and the town center is a must-see as well. Lima is a melting pot of cultures, influenced by African, Asian, Andean and European societies. For as little as $10 bucks a night you can get a decent hotel room and the food is very inexpensive too.

11 Marrakech, Morocco

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The most visited country in Africa is Morocco. An inexpensive vacation destination is the most visited place in Morocco and that is Marrakech. As a former imperial city, Marrakech is a popular destination spot with exotic palaces and gardens to see. Acrobats, fortune-tellers and snake charmers line the streets to the legendary plaza for your entertainment pleasure. The Red City is a must-see and has been described by Fodor’s publishing as “a dreamy maze of spice-scented streets filled with vendors, cafes and hidden palaces”. Four-star hotel rooms run as low as $15. per night and if you eat at the local restaurants and street stalls the food can be very cheap.

10 Budapest, Hungary

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Hungary is one of the cheapest Eastern Europe countries to visit. The largest city and the nation’s capital is Budapest, and it’s a delight for the tourists. It’s very easy on the pocketbook with some of the cheapest hotel, food and beverage prices you will find in all of Europe. It’s chock full of sightseeing adventures that you will never forget, like a cruise on the Danube River through town. If you're into the spa thing, Budapest is the place for you. Every day 15 million gallons of water bubble down into its 118 natural springs and give rise to the outstanding array of sparkling bath houses the city offers to its tourists.

9 Albufeira, Portugal

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If you want an affordable vacation spot with the beautiful climate, gorgeous beaches and old town charm, Albufeira, Portugal is just the place for you. If you are a beach aficionado then Albufeira must be on your bucket list. There are 20 different beaches for you go and soak up some sun and if you get thirsty while you are at the beach you can get a small beer for about a buck. It is also a very popular vacation spot for the younger crowd because it caters to nightlife-oriented people. The Old Town's waterfront street artists entertain the predominantly pedestrian area and the open-air bars and disco’s have live bands every night.

8 Zanzibar

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15 miles off the coast of East Africa is a Tanzanian archipelago. Zanzibar is the main island and even its name evokes images of a great island paradise. Surprisingly, it is more budget friendly a spot to vacation than you might think. The ferry from Tanzania to Zanzibar is only $35. and there are plenty of luxury resorts to stay at once you’re there. With crystal clear, turquoise blue waters and many small deserted islands nearby, Zanzibar is a great place for people who like to explore. The cheapest month to stay is in March and a three-star hotel stay will only set you back around $35 dollars a night.

7 Naples, Italy

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Birthplace of our beloved Pizza, Naples is one of the oldest cities on the European continent. With its underground catacombs, cultural sites, monuments and seaside castles, Naples is a great destination for vacationers who are looking for a bargain. The fabulous cuisine that Naples offers is very reasonable, with a traditional pizza costing as little as $4. To wash down your pizza, you can get a fairly cheap local lager for about $1.75, but of course, it will cost you more at a nightclub. You can then sleep it off in a three-star hotel that starts around $30. a night.

6 The Cook Islands

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A nation in the South Pacific, The Cook Islands are made up of 15 islands and spread out over a pretty vast area. The country is known for having some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling sites in the world. In the heart of Polynesia, it's on Hawaii’s time zone and it is just like Hawaii was 50 years ago with all its untouched beauty and charm. To the north is Aitutaki Island and it’s been called “The World’s most beautiful lagoon” by the founder of the Lonely Planet. Now The Cook Islands are much more pricey than others places on this list, but they are still reasonable and a small price to pay for a trip to paradise.

5 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Known to many of us as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is infamous for the role it played in the Vietnam War in the 1960’s and early 70’s. It served as headquarters for the United States military operations, and today, traveling to Ho Chi Minh City is a bargain compared to the rest of the world. French colonial landmarks like the Notre-Dame Cathedral and exploring the underground Cu Chi Tunnels built during the war are “must-sees” for the history buff. While you’re there, don’t forget about the Bến Thành Market for local flavors served up at incredibly affordable prices. For a full bottle of local wine, you will pay only $3 dollars and a sandwich will cost you only pennies.

4 Chiang Mai, Thailand

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Located in northern Thailand, the mountainous city of Chiang Mai is considered to be one of best bargain vacation spots in the world. Since it was founded so long ago in 1296, it has countless sacred religious sites and Buddhist temples to explore. It also offers some of the cheapest hotel prices and places to eat for vacationers. Rooms at three-star hotels can cost as little as $15 bucks a night, and a plate of pad thai costs around $1.50 USD. Coffee shops are abundant and a good cup of coffee can cost more than a meal at around 100 Thai Baht around $3. dollars.

3 Denpasar, Indonesia

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Another popular snorkeling and scuba diving destination on our list is Denpasar. Don’t recognize the name? It is the main hub and capital city of the Indonesian province of Bali. Besides its beaches, there is the Pura Blanjong Temple which is a huge attraction for tourists. The Bali Museum is another draw with its impressive collection of Balinese artifacts. A three-star hotel will cost around $13 dollars a night and for one day of food, the average price is Rp252,698 ($18). On the list of Denpasar’s sites to see are the state temple, Pura Jagatnatha and Puputan Square where vendors sell chicken satay.

2 Pattaya, Thailand

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On Thailand’s eastern Gulf coast sits the city of Pattaya, home to some of the most exquisite beaches you’ll find on this planet. Tourists go there mainly for the beaches, but the budget-friendly nightlife and shopping keep them coming back. You can get a four-star hotel room for as little as $10 dollars a night so that leaves you with extra spending money for shopping. Eating won’t cost you an arm and a leg either. Food court prices in Pattaya are so cheap you will never go hungry. A rice dish with two add-ons will cost $3. USD and a meat dish with pasta will run about $6. USD.

1 Agra, India

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Agra is located in northern India an is an extremely affordable place to visit. Home to the iconic Taj Mahal, Agra is host to one of the World’s most recognizable landmarks, but there are plenty of other things to see while you are there. Agra Fort and the Tomb of Itimad-Ud-Daulah are just a few of the other place you will want to go and visit. Best of all, you can stay for a really long time because it’s so cheap. For only $4. USD a night you can get a room in a five-star hotel and your food for the day will only cost ₨728 ($11. USD).

References: clubthrifty.com, forbes.com, lonelyplanet.com, tripdvisor.com, tastythailand.com, scmp.com, budgetyourtrip.com

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